Review Summary: The construction of the songs on Never Hungover Again is a bit like a sampler platter, as it displays the gamut of everything that Joyce Manor can do, and it does so in less than twenty minutes.
For as simple as Joyce Manor's music can be, it is surprisingly hard to describe them to someone who has never heard them. They have a pretty cut-and-dry songwriting formula yet somehow sound completely original, they are tongue-in-cheek while also seeming totally sincere, insert next conundrum here. The catchy qualities in their songwriting never rely on being overproduced or saccharine sweet, which is the main draw for punk bands like them and Dear Landlord
; the authenticity always made it that
much more fun to belt out the choruses in the car with some friends. Joyce Manor's self-titled LP is one of my all-time favorite albums and after the disappointment that was the follow-up Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired
, I was wary of the direction for the next album. Never Hungover Again
is doubly a success; not only is it an excellent record, but it also stands tall with a different identity than Joyce Manor
. "Schley" starts out slower and then gradually builds on the skeletal beginnings of drums and vocals until the explosive last thirty seconds, while "End of the Summer" begins with an angular lead guitar that gives way to the audible bass that dominates most of the album.
The construction of the songs on Never Hungover Again
is a bit like a sampler platter, as it displays the gamut of everything that Joyce Manor can do, and it does so in less than twenty minutes. For a genre that can seem so one-dimensional at times, Joyce Manor expertly inject just enough influences to sound completely different than any other band in the genre. "Heart Tattoo" shows the heart-on-sleeve, upbeat pop punk side to them, but the closer "Heated Swimming Pool" leans more toward emo tendencies with jangling guitars and a more subdued approach. The vocals of Barry Johnson are endlessly listenable here, as he goes from a plaintive yearning to a passionate yell within seconds naturally. The short lengths of songs are both genius and frustrating at the same time; while the melodies never overstay their welcome and seem perfectly formulated, you always end up wanting more. That's obviously a small complaint, especially given the fact that these succinct songs wouldn't sound quite right with a more standard song length. The biggest downfall of Never Hungover Again
is that there is a distinct lack of standout songs. On Joyce Manor
, you had songs like "Beach Community" and "Famous Friend" that were obvious highlights and helped to give the album a bit more of an identity. Even though this collection of songs lacks musical missteps, it can fly by the listener without making a lasting impression. Having said this, the band is armed with a little more subtlety this time around and it provides fans with the most mature album of Joyce Manor's career, as well as some much-needed redemption.